United Daily News: Any chance for a honorable pullout?
Central News Agency
2014-03-25 11:56 AM
One week has passed since student-led protesters began to occupy the Legislative Yuan. Is there any chance of bringing the protest to a peaceful end so that the students can pull out from the Legislature in honor? Because of the latest student movement, the transparency of a trade in services pact with China has drawn widespread attention and discussion, and KMT lawmakers have agreed that the pact should undergo an item-by-item review in the Legislature. In this sense, the movement has already achieved its original purpose. During the occupation, however, the students have changed their minds again and again. At first, they only asked for the agreement to be reviewed item by item. But a few days later, they wanted the pact to be scrapped and a law governing the signing of cross-Taiwan Strait agreements to be enacted. Their latest demands include the convening of a "civic constitutional meeting." By aiming for so many targets at the same time, the student movement will not only lose its focus but also blow itself out of proportion. A lot of people see the pact differently from the students, and their opinions also deserve our respect. It would violate the spirit of democracy if the cross-strait agreement were scrapped simply because protesters occupied the Legislature. A lack of sincerity on the part of government officials to communicate with the public has undoubtedly been a main reason why some students have resorted to even more drastic means to voice their protest. President Ma Ying-jeou had a good opportunity to clear up people's doubts over the pact when he held a news conference on Sunday to respond to the students. But after stating the government's position, Ma took only six questions, and the language he used was full of bureaucratese. It was little wonder that a group of angry students attacked the Executive Yuan that night. But if the student leaders and their professors cherish the movement, they should reset their targets and return to the goal of having the pact reviewed item by item by lawmakers. Legislative Yuan speaker Wang Jin-pyng has the responsibility to help lawmakers across party lines form a consensus on the matter and persuade the students to end the occupation peacefully. (Editorial abstract -- March 25, 2014) (By Y. F. Low)
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